Mirror, Mirror

Yesterday, my son was anxious that he was taking too long to complete his morning routine, nervous he would be late for his ski lesson, and irritated that his socks, boots, mask and helmet “did not feel right”.

An equally, if not more, accurate account of yesterday morning:

  • I was anxious that he was taking too long: how many times did he wash his hands?  Once is enough!
  • I was nervous we would be late: if we are even 5 minutes late for this lesson, he is going to meltdown and insist that the day is ruined.
  • I was irritated watching him adjust and readjust his socks, boots, mask and helmet: they need to be on, not perfect – let’s go!

I was mirroring him.

Mirroring others around us is our default setting: we often do it unconsciously.  If someone is warm and friendly to us, we are warm to them.  If someone is inpatient with us, we lose our patience with them. 

Since mirroring is our default setting, changing it requires awareness and curiosity.

When I noticed how irritated I was becoming as my son adjusted and readjusted his ski gear, I was able to take a step back and remind myself: 

  • Just because he is perseverating over his ski gear, I do not have to perseverate over it as well. 
  • I can be calm and patient even if he is upset and frustrated. 

This bought me peace of mind for the three extra minutes my son needed to readjust his helmet before I sent him off to his ski instructors.

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